Many people use drugs as a substitute for change.
Self-medication with alcohol, cigarettes, anti-depressants or
junk food to manage emotions is easier than solving relationship
problems but this can lead to unhealthy habits and addictions.
Table of Contents
Are You in a Relationship with an Addict?
Addictions bring short-term relief and long-term nightmares. Although some addictions are common and the consequences well known; many intelligent and knowledgeable people become addicts. If internet obsessions and other compulsions are included with addiction, few people seem to be free.
Addictions fulfill a goal of “I do not want to be me!” – we call this identity loss. Many people want to dissociate or not-feel their negative emotions. We help people change the emotions and relationships that motivate addictive behavior. But the longer you leave doing this – the harder it gets.
I’ve done every drug you could name and probably more. I was doing them together, mostly to get away from myself. But the highs never last. Nothing changes except always worse. London
Drugs are not demons, drug addicts are not defective and most drug dealers work for pharmaceutical companies. Millions of people are addicts – not only to heroin, morphine, amphetamines, tranquilizers and cocaine, but also to alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, masturbation, work, theft, gambling, internet, sex … and even to love.
Addicts and addictions are both common. Here are some pictures of an addict … could you or someone you love follow this highway to hell?
Eight years of cocaine addiction – age 29 to 37. The inner nightmare is even worse [ Addict photographs from BBC News ]
The consequences of addiction include brain damage, broken families and profound suffering. Yet, if you ask an addict, “Why do you to do this?” their answers seem incomplete. “I drink to forget what happened”. “I smoke to avoid being fat”. “Gambling is in my blood”. And of course … “I can stop whenever I want”.
Relationships with Addicts
Relationships with addicts includes relationships with their addictions – and with their consequences. Relationships with addicts usually require that you participate in their addictions in ways that you probably won’t like.
Falling in love can feel wonderful; while falling out of love can be painful. Our brains change when we are in love, in similar ways to some mental illnesses or addictive drugs. Some people become addicted to love (or sex), and falling out of love is similar to withdrawal symptoms! Some addictions keep families together.
“After I quit crystal meth, my mother killed herself. She wrote that she did not feel needed once I was clean. I can honestly say that I knew something terrible would happen”. Sydney
It is pointless to hate or blame addicts, substances or behaviors, or even those people who provide addictive opportunities. We help motivated people solve the emotional and relationship entanglements that underlie most addictions.
Online Counseling and Coaching
We help people change the emotional consequences of their memories. We can help you solve relationship problems, manage guilt, and live with integrity. Do you want to end fixations, trauma or mentor damage?
People with alcohol or drug addictions can also contact a drug treatment hotline for referrals to drug rehabs, recovery programs and sober living environments.
“You gave me endless compassion and no sympathy. You helped me find my passion … that I had almost forgotten that I had. You were very tender and very tough as you helped me get the monkey off my back. Boston
Addiction: Benefits & Characteristics
Although chemical dependency may result from experiments with addictive substances, few experiments seem to result in addiction. Most people who become addicts want:
- to feel connected to people who are addicts
- dissociated people can experience pleasure
- to avoid boredom, pain or unpleasant emotions
- to maintain a dependent or codependent relationship
- to fulfill the desires of a deity, ancestor or family member
My addiction was a monster, always watching and waiting. It followed me everywhere. If I had a moment of weakness or despair or panic, it would catch me again. I thought I could never, ever be free of it … you helped me tame it.
If you suffer unpleasant emotions or negative self-talk, including guilt, boredom, frustration & self-hatred, then a substance or activity that reduces your difficult emotions (or negative inner dialog), even for a short time, may become addictive.
While numbing the senses can bring short term relief, if this relief becomes habitual, the consequences may be worse than feeling bad. Motivated people usually gain lasting relief by resolving emotional and relationship issues.
We help people build emotional intelligence and emotional maturity. We coach people to accept their feelings and emotions, pleasant and unpleasant, as feedback about life. In this way most people can manage their emotions.
Many popular therapies and New Age techniques encourage people to dissociate their emotions. The relief of dissociating (not feeling) unpleasant feelings may bring relief , but dissociating emotions can lead to further identity loss.
Many people want to “just forget” bad memories. It could be the shock of a war, the horror of being an unwanted child, or from being abused. If people want to forget parts of their lives – identity loss can be a short-term blessing but a long-term curse.
When I smoked crack, I forgot my sadness! After I sorted out my relationships, cocaine seemed less interesting. During our sessions, my addiction became more and more like a bad dream – and is now like an old nightmare. Amsterdam
I gambled because my mother did – I thought it was genetic. Gambling helped me feel close to my mother. You helped me be with my mother as her daughter without having to gamble or to be upset by it.